Witness fight threatens quick ending to impeachment trial Stephen Collinson Profile

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Senate Republicans are wrestling with a momentous dilemma over whether to call witnesses in Donald Trump's trial in a closed-door tussle that risks antagonizing the President and fueling Democrat claims of a cover-up.
Revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton that could bolster evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine for electoral favors are jolting GOP hopes for a swift impeachment acquittal and may hike the political costs of such a vote.
Most Republican senators are agitating for the chance to vote to clear Trump of impeachable offenses, but a handful of their colleagues are still agonizing, beset by unique political factors or a battle with their consciences.
    GOP senators met soon after Trump's legal team rested its defense on Tuesday to try to find a way out of a morass. A source in the room said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his troops he still did not have sufficient votes to block the Democrats' demand for witnesses.


    The news was the first sign that the band of Republicans open to hearing from Bolton especially might be larger than the three or so senators who have said all along they are considering such an option though who those GOP lawmakers would be remained unclear Tuesday night.
    A vote for witnesses could significantly prolong the trial, would certainly spark bruising legal confrontations and would enrage Trump -- who is hoping to claim vindication at his State of the Union address next week.
    The President weighed into the mix and may have betrayed growing concern with a tweet on Tuesday evening, perhaps aimed at wavering Republican senators.
    "No matter how many witnesses you give the Democrats, no matter how much information is given, like the quickly produced Transcripts, it will NEVER be enough for them. They will always scream UNFAIR. The Impeachment Hoax is just another political CON JOB!" Trump wrote.
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to thicken the plot in an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," suggesting that there were "10-12 Republicans who have never said a bad word about witnesses or documents who know in their hearts that it's the right thing to do."
    "But they have to weigh that against the pressure -- the twisting of arms that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell will put on them. So I think it's up in the air right now," the New York Democrat said.

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